Archive for December, 2014

Title: Google May Have Just Killed A Whole Category Of Websites

Search Engine News, Search Engine Optimization

Article Source: Link Exchange Service Network

Over time, Google has been showing more and more content on search results pages, resulting in people having to click over to third-party websites for fewer and fewer things. Now, Google is showing song lyrics, in what should be considered an enormous blow to lyrics sites.

Is Google going overboard with the content it’s providing on search results page or is it just delivering a better user experience? Both? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Search “Goodbye Horses lyrics,” for example, and you’ll get the song’s words in all their glory. That’s on both mobile and desktop.

As you may notice, these results feature a link to Google Play at the bottom of the box, so those concerned about Google being anti-competitive will have a new thing to complain about. If you click Google Play, it takes you to a Google Play page that hosts the lyrics, but also the option to buy the song from Google.

In some cases, a search will return only some of the lyrics, and a prompt to get the “full lyrics on Google Play”.

This might be a U.S. feature only right now. It doesn’t appear to be showing up in Europe at the moment, which isn’t too surprising given that Google is under the eye of competitive scrutiny over there.

Google is currently embroiled in a years-long antitrust investigation into its search business. Among the complaints against it is that it favors its own results. Google escaped a similar probe in the U.S. by the Federal Trade Commission a couple years ago.

In reality, the feature does make Google better from the user standpoint. It makes it much easier to find the words to songs, but it’s definitely going to anger some website owners. As you probably know by now, though, Google says it caters to users, not websites.

I guess Genius (formerly Rap Genius) didn’t get the last laugh after all. You may recall that Google had penalized the lyrics site briefly for violating webmaster guidelines.

On a higher level, this is an interesting look at how Google can basically wipe out an entire category of websites in one fell swoop. Which category will be next.

In all fairness, lyrics sites can try to get more out of non-Google traffic sources. Genius has already tried to Google proof itself with an app. Either way, Google’s move is a huge blow to all such sites. Lyrics are something that people search for probably far more often than they share them on social media.

Now, enjoy having Goodbye Horses stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

Should Google show this kind of content directly in search results? Let us know what you think.

Via Search Engine Roundtable

Image via Google

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Title: Google: Clicks On App Deep Links Jumped By 10x Last Quarter

Search Engine News, Search Engine Optimization

Article Source: Link Exchange Service Network

Google started testing app indexing on Android in October of last year, adding deep links from apps within search results on its operating system. In June, they opened it up to everyone.

On Tuesday, Google provided an update on what’s going on with it, encouraging more webmasters to take advantage. What’s going on with it is that clicks on app deep links jumped by 10x last quarter, according to the company, with 15% of signed-in Google searches on Android now returning deep links.

In other words, the amount of these types of results is growing, and people are clicking on them more, so you might want to get your app in the mix, especially considering that Google is increasingly focusing on a site’s mobile user experience when it comes to ranking mobile results (though they do still take desktop signals into consideration).

Google’s app indexing update includes four steps to monitor app performance and drive user engagement, which include: Give your app developer access to Webmaster Tools; Understand how your app is doing in search results; Make sure key app resources can be crawled; and Watch out for Android App errors. Obviously they go into more detail about how to achieve all of this.

Information related to app indexing that Google shows in Webmaster Tools includes: errors in indexed pages within apps, weekly clicks and impressions from app deep links via Google search; and stats on your sitemap (if that’s how you implemented the app deep links). Google says it will be adding a lot more in the coming months.

There are two new ways to track performance for your app deep links. Google will send a weekly clicks and impressions update to the Message center in in WMT, and you can now track how much traffic app deep links drive to your app using referrer information (referrer extra in the ACTION_VIEW intent). The company says it’s working to integrate this info with Google Analytics.

“Blocked resources are one of the top reasons for the ‘content mismatch’ errors you see in Webmaster Tools’ Crawl Errors report,” says Google Webmaster Trends analyst Mariya Moeva. “We need access to all the resources necessary to render your app page. This allows us to assess whether your associated web page has the same content as your app page.”

“To help you identify errors when indexing your app, we’ll send you messages for all app errors we detect, and will also display most of them in the ‘Android apps’ tab of the Crawl errors report,” Moeva says.

Google has three new error types that go along with the existing “content mismatch” and “intent URI not supported” error alerts: APK not found, no first-click free, and back button violation. Check out the original post for more on all of this.

You can bet that app indexing is only going to become a bigger part of mobile search, so if you have an app, you should probably start paying attention to this stuff. Otherwise, you might find yourself left behind on mobile search. And who knows? That could even affect you on the desktop eventually.

Image via Google

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Title: Google Penguin Update Will Probably Just Continue Indefinitely

Search Engine News, Search Engine Optimization

Article Source: Link Exchange Service Network

As you may know, Google’s latest Penguin update, which launched in October, is still rolling out. Google had said that it would be a slow rollout from the beginning, but here we are two months later, and it’s still going. They really weren’t kidding.

Some may take issue with the fact that Google is pushing such a major update during the holiday shopping season. If you get hit by a Google update this time of year, you risk losing major sales if you’re selling things online that people might want to purchase as gifts.

Either way, it’s continuing, and you probably shouldn’t count on Google to let you know when it’s done. Google’s John Mueller, whom you might as well consider the new Matt Cutts at this point, for all intents and purposes, conducted a Webmaster Hangout, as he often does. In it, he seemed to indicate that the update will continue, that Google might not publicly say when it stops, and that the goal is for it to continue updating. In other words, much like Panda before it, Penguin will probably just keep going on regularly.

“We’re hoping that these things will keep updating,” he said.

The good news with that scenario is that if you get hit by the update it should be a lot easier to recover. Before, you had to make the necessary changes to your site, and then sit patiently and wait for Google to launch another update. The last time, it took them a year to do so. The bad news, I guess, is that there is also a greater chance that you’ll be affected by the update.

Of course the primary goal of Penguin is to get rid of spam, so if you’re not doing spammy stuff, you should be safe from that part of the algorithm. That does assume that Google’s algorithm is actually doing its job correctly.

Via Search Engine Roundtable

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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